Website editor’s note: Please note that while this post is being updated as time allows, most of the following information wasd posted on March 19, 2020 in response to the recent cases in New Zealand of COVID-19, a viral illness associated with a novel coronavirus which is now known as SARS-CoV-2.

Please note that the situation with the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and associated illness (called COVID-19) is evolving rapidly and information on this post may therefore become out of date. Further down this post you will find includes listings for the relevant pages on the website of the World Health Organization, the NZ Ministry of Health and the Australian Ministry of Health and we recommend that you check these pages regularly for updates as these organisations have the resources to update their websites on a frequent basis.

The following link lists all the COVID-19 articles on our website:

Information about the COVID-19 situation in NZ:

NZ-specific update March 22, 2020: In addition to the information on the website of the NZ Ministry of Health, the government of NZ has now established a specific website for the COVID-19 outbreak in NZ. This website provides health advice, links to printable resources, such as posters that can be used in healthcare practices, as well as other information that may be of use, such as information about financial support available to some individuals and businesses that may be facing reduced income as a result of the outbreak. The website also includes information about the NZ government’s plan to manage the COVID-19 situation.

The plan may also be downloaded from the link below:

https://covid19.govt.nz/alert-system/covid-19-alert-system/

(Please note that the plan below was downloaded on March 21 2020 so it may become out of date.)

Introduction

A novel (new) coronavirus known as Covid-19 emerged late in 2019 and there are now cases in many countries around the world including New Zealand and Australia. 

The information available at the present time (March 19, 2020) indicates that this virus is capable of causing illness of varying severity ranging from minor cold-like symptoms that can be treated at home through to life threatening illness such as pneumonia and/or ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) that requires hospitalisation.  Blood clots have been reported in some patients. Some patients may require treatment in intensive care due to the need for mechanical ventilation and/or ECMO treatment for poor lung function.  The illness can be fatal in some cases. 

Based on overseas data, people who are elderly and/or those who have underlying health problems are more likely to have severe symptoms than people who are younger and healthier. Smokers also seem to be at higher risk of becoming seriously ill.

Update 20 March 2020: According to an article in the NZ Herald the illness is generally milder in children than in adults, although children are still at risk of developing serious conditions such as pneumonia or respiratory or organ failure. There has now been one reported death in a child (a 14 year old boy in China). The article does not disclose whether or not he had any underlying medical problems that may have increased his risk of severe illness and/or contributed to his death.

New Zealand Specific information:

The NZ government has a specific website for COVID-19 which is covid19.govt.nz/

The NZ Ministry of Health has set up a specific page on its website for information about the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19):  https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus – this page includes resources for both members of the public and as well as for health professionals. 

The information for the public is at the following link: 

https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

The following information about strategies to prevent  corona virus infection is excerpted from the NZ Ministry of Health’s website:

Prevention – how to protect yourself and others

  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues.
  • Put used tissues in the bin or a bag immediately.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds).
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
  • Avoid personal contact, such as kissing, sharing cups or food with sick people.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell.
  • Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you have any symptoms and have been to any countries or territories of concern or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19 )

SOURCE:  https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-health-advice-general-public#prevention

Healthy Lifestyle Tips to Support Your Immune System

In addition to the recommendations from the NZ Ministry of Health, following a healthy lifestyle to support optimal immune system function is a sensible precaution.

A healthy life can include:

  • Eating a nourishing diet
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Exercising as appropriate for your general health (but not exercising to excess) and
  • Getting enough sunshine to ensure good vitamin D levels – or taking supplemental vitamin D if you cannot get sufficient sunshine due to your job, a medical condition or bad weather or latitude during the months of autumn-winter-spring.  (NB: There is research indicating that people who are vitamin D deficient are more vulnerable to viral infections and there are many interesting documents in relation to vitamin D that you can access by clicking HERE (external link).)
  • UPDATE 25 May 2020: We now have a specific article on vitamin D in relation to COVID-19 on our site – please read it as it is an important article: https://www.naturalmedicine.net.nz/news/is-vitamin-d-deficiency-the-reason-why-more-people-with-darker-skin-are-dying-from-covid-19/

Australian Specific Information:

The Australian Department of Health has set up a  specific page on its website for information about the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19):  https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

Other Countries: 

Please see the WHO website (which you find listed further down this page) and/or the website of your national Ministry or Department of Health.

World Health Organization (WHO) Resources:

The World Health Organization (WHO)  has established a section on its website for the novel coronavirus outbreak.

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Daily international “Situation Reports” on the viral outbreak be accessed via this link: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports/

The “Technical Guidance” section on the WHO website provides a variety of resources including the following:

Information about Clinical Trials of Potential Treatments for COVID-19:

The following link allows you to search clinical trials, including those on the novel corona virus which you can access by using “Ncov” or “COVID-19” in the search box:

http://apps.who.int/trialsearch/AdvSearch.aspx

The trials include a herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) named “Honeysuckle”. (This is presumably Lonicera japonica) as this is the variety of honeysuckle used in TCM.) See: http://apps.who.int/trialsearch/Trial2.aspx?TrialID=ChiCTR2000030545

Other useful sources of information

Free papers available to read on the website of The Lancet

The prestigious British medical journal The Lancet is making full text papers and correspondence on different aspects of the novel coronavirus (now named “COVID-19”) available for free on its website at the following link:

https://www.thelancet.com/coronavirus

Other information available from Elsevier:

Medical publisher Elsevier, which publishes The Lancet in addition to around 2500 other titles, has two useful websites covering COVID-19, including the online Elsevier Coronavirus Information Center which has information for the public as well as health professionals:

https://www.elsevier.com/connect/coronavirus-information-center

It also has a link designed for health professionals:

https://www.elsevier.com/clinical-solutions/covid-19-toolkit

The link below which gives an overview of different pharmaceutical drugs in the treatment of COVID-19 may also be useful.

https://www.elsevier.com/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/988648/COVID-19-Drug-Therapy_Mar-2020.pdf

Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine

Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are drugs that have been used to treat malaria and have also shown to have activity against corona viruses. Information about these drugs is being listed here as these are the drugs about which there has been the most discussion in mainstream media.

France is now reportedly making hydroxychloroquine available for the treatment of COVID-19 after a small study showed most people given the medication recovered faster: https://www.dailywire.com/news/france-officially-sanctions-drug-after-78-of-80-patients-recover-from-covid-19-within-five-days

The following article notes that the antiviral activity of these drugs has been know for well over a decade:

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/03/19/chloroquine-known-as-effective-against-coronavirus-since-2005/

This paper suggests that they may be worthwhile for treating  COVID-19.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924857920300820

This paper reports on a recent clinical trial: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924857920300996

A doctor in New York has claimed an almost 100% recovery rate for patients who had COVD-19 symptoms  (but were not so sick that they required admission to hospital) with using a combination of medications including hydroxychloroquine and you can read a letter he wrote (which includes dosaages) at this link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SesxgaPnpT6OfCYuaFSwXzDK4cDKMbivoALprcVFj48/preview

Additional information about chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine (and other pharmaceutical options) may be found at this link: 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/therapeutic-options.html

Medication availability:

Hydroxychloroquine is available in NZ and its datasheet is here:  https://medsafe.govt.nz/profs/Datasheet/p/Plaqueniltab.pdf However, Pharmac recently changed its status so that the drug is NOT now funded for New Zealanders except those with specific pre-existing conditions. https://www.pharmac.govt.nz/information-for/covid-19-pharmacs-response/covid-19-information-for-prescribers/covid-19-hydroxychloroquine/ Several DHBs in NZ will be enrolling patients in a clinical trial in which hydroxychloroquine will be used so this may provide access to this medication for some people.

Azithromycin is available in NZ and datasheets are below:

https://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/Datasheet/z/Zithromaxtabsusp.pdf

https://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/Datasheet/a/apoazithromycintab.pdf

UPDATE MAY 25, 2020: We now have an article specifically on chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine that was updated to include new information about these treatment options: https://www.naturalmedicine.net.nz/news/chloroquine-and-hydroxychloroquine-as-potential-treatments-for-covid-19/

Press releases and videos available on the website of the Orthomolecular* News Service

NB: Orthomolecular Medicine is the use of nutrients to prevent or treat disease.

Below is a selection of relevant press releases from the Orthomolecular News Service :

March 3, 2020

http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v16n16.shtml

February 21, 2020

http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v16n12.shtml

February 16.2020

http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v16n11.shtml

NB: This press release of February 16, 2020 is also available in Chinese: http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v16n11-chi.shtml

The youtube channel of Dr. Richard Cheng has interesting videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCASvIerKRpknoJYTSHsitJQ

The Brighteon video of Andrew Saul from the Orthomolecular News Service is also worth watching: https://www.brighteon.com/646ad120-775a-4464-a0d1-609be7a0a9dc

UPDATE 21 March 2020

UPDATE 21 MARCH 2020: In light of the information reported by the Orthomolecular News Service, the following comment by a doctor in Korea:

“In my hospital in Daegu, South Korea, all the patients and staff use oral vitamin C since last week. Some people had light fever, headaches and coughs, and those with symptoms received 30.000mg of vitamin C intravenously. Some were better in about 2 days, but with most, the symptoms disappeared after one perfusion.” (Hyoungjoo Shin, MD)

It is not 100% clear whether the hospital staff were taking vitamin C because they were already infected or as a preventative*, but the article from which this quote was excerpted did discuss the use of vitamin in the prevention of viral illnesses as well as in the treatment of viral infections. (The source link for the quote is the following link https://medium.com/@MaraLeverkuhn/vitamin-c-dramatically-helps-against-coronavirus-infection-romanian-biophysicist-2341dc7e7a38 – but you can see that the article has been removed from Medium.com’s website. The original source for the information is the following link: https://www.activenews.ro/stiri-sanatate/Virgiliu-Gheorghe-Vitamina-C-sau-despre-cum-sa-tratam-Corona-virus-Covid-19-160540)

*The following Orthomolecular News Service press release includes suggested dosages of vitamin C (and other nutrients) for prophylaxis of viral infections: http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v16n04.shtml

Homoeopathy

If you are interested in homoeopathic medicine the following websites may be of interest:

Society of Homeopaths

The Society of Homeopaths (in the UK) has issued a statement on Covid-19 which you may read here: https://homeopathy-soh.org/coronavirus-covid-19/

Ministry of AYUSH (India)

The Ministry of AYUSH in India has put out a press release on Covid-10 that covers that use of a homeopathic remedy for Covid-19 prophylaxis as well as traditional Ayurvedic herbal medicines:

https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1600895

(Please note that it is recommended to use the remedies suggested on the above press release on the advice of a qualified practitioner rather than self-medicating. Please also note that the use of any of these remedies is NOT designed to replace the general precautions that should be used to prevent/reduce the spread of Covid-19 – such as proper hand washing etc. recommended by national health authorities.)

NB:  From the website of the Ministry of AYUSH:  “The Ministry of AYUSH was formed on 9th November 2014 to ensure the optimal development and propagation of AYUSH systems of health care. Earlier it was known as the Department of Indian System of Medicine and Homeopathy (ISM&H) which was created in March 1995 and renamed as Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) in November 2003, with focused attention for development of Education and Research in Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy.” (http://ayush.gov.in/about-us/about-the-ministry)

Homeopathy Plus

The website Homoeopathy Plus has been reporting on the use of homoeopathy overseas, such as the article that may be found here:  https://homeopathyplus.com/have-two-doctors-identified-a-treatment-and-preventative-remedy-for-covid-19/

Ayurvedic Medicine

The Ministry of AYUSH in India has put out a press release on Covid-10 that covers that use of a homeopathic remedy for Covid-19 prophylaxis as well as traditional Ayurvedic herbal medicines:

https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1600895

(Please note that it is recommended to use the remedies suggested on the above press release on the advice of a qualified practitioner rather than self-medicating. Please also note that the use of any of these remedies is NOT designed to replace the general precautions that should be used to prevent/reduce the spread of Covid-19 – such as proper hand washing etc. recommended by national health authorities.)

NB:  From the website of the Ministry of AYUSH:  “The Ministry of AYUSH was formed on 9th November 2014 to ensure the optimal development and propagation of AYUSH systems of health care. Earlier it was known as the Department of Indian System of Medicine and Homeopathy (ISM&H) which was created in March 1995 and renamed as Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) in November 2003, with focused attention for development of Education and Research in Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy.” (http://ayush.gov.in/about-us/about-the-ministry)

Please click on this image to go to a link via which you may access a free sample of articles from this issue.

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